One Night With Blue Note: The Historic All-Star Reunion Concert
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When Bruce Lundvall and Michael Cuscuna revived the Blue Note label in 1985, a reunion concert was held at New Yorks Town Hall. The concert brought together some of the most well-known names in jazz, as well as a handful of artists newly signed to the label, on one stage. For well over three hours on the night of February 22, 1985, one jazz legend after another took the stage playing classic tunes from the Blue Note catalog. Many regard this event as the greatest single jazz evening ever!
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To film more than forty of the greatest jazz musicians in the world for over 3 hours is a daunting task. This movie was shot on film, not video, so there had to be film magazine changes every ten minutes on each of the multiple cameras. To do this without missing important moments is incredibly difficult and requires planning, a good ear, and spontaneity. On the original version there was a great interplay during one set where we see Freddie Hubbard's amazed reaction to Herbie Hancock's piano solo. This shot really said something - how these musicians can blow each other away. Throughout the film the Director doesn't hesitate to cut away to what the other musicians are doing, even during a solo. To be fair much of this artful editing is still intact, but it's a disservice to the filmmaker and the viewer to go back in and change the intent.
Most importantly, thanks to Bruce Lundvall and Michael Cuscuna the greatest night in jazz history has been well documented, and at least we know the original footage is still in the Blue Note vaults in case some future aficionado wants to restore the film to its original form for the next generation. Or how about releasing a Director's Cut? I'll bet everyone who owns the DVD would buy yet another version: We know from the CDs and the tracks that were removed from the original version (ie the Charles Lloyd and Stanley Jordan tunes) that there must be a lot of footage yet to be released.
Nevertheless the DVD version is still an incredible film and well worth the investment. If you're a jazz lover buy the DVD and look for the vhs or laserdisc on eBay. "One Night With Blue Note" is simply the best jazz movie ever made.
music, which I especially like as everyone gets the opportunity to do